I went on O’Reilly this week to talk about an upcoming documentary called “Tapped”, which claims that bottled water is destroying the environment and dangerous to your health. The documentary makes claims, like:
"BPA may be one of the most potent toxic chemicals known to man" ... "there is virtually no major human health trend over the last 30 years that hasn't increased such as childhood diabetes, that is not related to exposure to this chemical (BPA). We find it relating to obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, brain disorders, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, liver disease, ovarian disease, disease of the uterus, low sperm count in men."
It’s such silly, predictably lefty anti-chemical nonsense. With so many chemicals killing us, how do we manage to keep living longer?
BPA saves lives, by stopping botulism. Here are the facts, from the American Council of Science and Health:
[T]he best estimates of the daily intake of bisphenol A range from about one one-thousandth (0.001) to one-tenth (0.1) of a microgram per kilogram of the person’s body weight per day....
In studies conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, harmful effects, especially a reduction in body weight, were found in mice and rats only when the amount of bisphenol A fed to the animals exceeded 50,000 micrograms (50 milligrams) per kilogram of body weight per day. Lower doses did not harm the rodents...
Since BPA became commonplace in the lining of canned goods, foodborne illness from canned foods -- including botulism -- has virtually disappeared. Any possible new replacement could not have the same record of testing and safety as has been shown for BPA...
Another claim: "By the year 2030, two thirds of the population will lack clean drinking water."
We called the film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig. She said the UN was her source. Here’s what the UN actually says:
“In 2030, 47% of world population will be living in areas of high water stress.” [The United Nations World Water Development Report, March 16, 2009] They cite an OECD report, which is based on fears about global warming.
I doubt even that claim. Over the last 20 years, more than a BILLION people have GAINED access to clean drinking water, according to the World Health Organization. Economic prosperity, not environmental hysteria, will improve lives. Saudi Arabia already gets 70 percent of its drinking water by converting salt water to fresh water.
A third claim: Bottled water plants have decimated environments in many places by drying them up -- only parched earth is left.
The film does make a few reasonable points:
- For most Americans, buying bottled water is a foolish waste of money. Tap water is safe, and often tastes better. I’ve run several blind taste tastes. Every time, people thought tap water tasted just as good, or better than the bottled brands.
- Water is wasted when it’s “free.” For example, in Maine, where Poland Springs is bottled, groundwater use is unlimited – so whoever has the biggest pump gets the most water. That's a bad policy. Free markets only work if there are property rights.
But the rest of the movie is ridiculous.